Is Your Resume up to Date? Here are Three Tips to Spruce it Up
January 24, 2018 In: Sound Bits
How often do you update your resume (or CV)? Just when you need to submit it for something and then you wish you had been keeping up with it more regularly? Ah, yes. Alas, we often have more pressing things to do with our time than keep these documents ultra fresh. But, you may want to consider setting some kind of schedule that you are comfortable with – maybe once a quarter, once a month, whatever works for you. Add a note on your calendar and then just spend a few minutes updating your documents. When you update, here are three tips to help you spruce up your resume or CV:
- Remove excess words: Let’s be honest – many times your resume is going to get read over very quickly during the first round of a job search, summer program application, scholarship application, etc. So it is important that you use as few words as possible to communicate your skills and experience. In your bullet points that describe your experience, make sure they are brief (no more than a single line) and start with action verbs like managed, led, coordinated, prepared, documented. For a great list of action verbs, see the Institute for Music Leadership Resume and CV Handbooks here.
- Keep it clean: #1 above will help with this. But you also want to make sure you are happy with your formatting, font choice, spacing, etc. You want a balance between text and white space so that the reader’s eye is not overwhelmed. As you add new positions, awards, and education to your document, make sure to recheck the formatting to make sure everything is still well balanced, clean, and clear.
- Master resume vs. tailored resume: Have a master resume which contains all of your experience, positions, and all the various sections of your resume. This is the one you update. Then, when you need to submit a resume for an opportunity, create a copy of your master resume and tailor that new file to fit the particular application. For example, you might reorder the sections of your resume so that the first sections in your document are most relevant to the opportunity. If you are applying for a teaching position and your first page and half is all about performance, that’s not a well-tailored resume.
If you are looking for more on this topic, the resume and CV handbooks mentioned earlier are great resources. Enjoy!